27th October is ‘National Black Cat Day’ in the UK when Cats Protection highlight, in particular, all the beautiful black cats needing adoption. They have hundreds of them in their centres, so we can’t work out why anybody wouldn’t like to have a black cat as a companion…. they’re just like any other cat, and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth.
National Black Cat Day was created way back in 2011, as Cats Protection statistics showed that black cats were taking longer to rehome than other domestics. This situation has gotten a lot better since then, but of course, there is always room for improvement. This special day was thought up so as to highlight the fact that these black moggies are being forgotten by families taking on a new cat. At the same time lots of happy owners celebrate the beauty of their black cats on this special day. That, reader, includes me (little Oscar).
Anyway, what better day to celebrate the happy story of one black cat called Ruby who was reunited with her happy owner just this month, after being missing for two whole years!
Ruby went missing from her home near Brogborough, close to a major junction and lorry park on the M1 motorway, in April 2018.
About three weeks ago she was found by security guard Leighton Myers on an industrial estate where he works in Coventry. He was feeding Ruby and, with the help of Cat’s Protection, traced her ownership to Jordan Harvey in Bedfordshire, 60 miles away. Mr Harvey drove to Coventry to collect her and Ruby knew him immediately. Just where she was between April 2018 and October 2020 when Mr Myers started feeding her we will never know but she is healthy and happy. Both Ruby and Jordan were over the moon to be re united with each other once again.
If you think that you could give a loving home to a beautiful black cat ( or other) or support in any other way, please have a look at the Cats Protection website below.
The little, spotted Southern Tiger Cat (Leopardus guttulus) aka ‘Southern Little Spotted Cat’ is a fairly new wild cat species native to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. When found in the tropical rainforest of southern Brazil it was long referred to as an Oncilla, a Tigrina or a Tiger cat. A study of the cat’s genetics in 2013 found that it wasn’t interbreeding with Oncilla populations and had, as a result, become genetically distinct. So now these ‘Oncilla’ cats are referred to as either Southern Tiger Cats or Northern Tiger Cats (Leopardus tigrinus).
Tiger cats are one of the smallest cat species in the Americas. A fully grown Tiger Cat can range from 1.8 kg to 3.5 kg in weight. They are nimble and extremely sleek animals, with a narrow but stocky head and neck, muscular shoulders and very large ears. The irises are golden or light brown. Males are generally larger than females. The fur of the Southern Tiger cat has a yellowish-brown ground colour, with large, rounded open rosettes of camouflage. Melanism is common. The paler belly fur is covered with dark spots.
The Tiger Cat’s fur is thick and short and does not turn forward in the nape region as it does on the Ocelot and Margay. Limbs are spotted on the outside and the long tail has spots at the root, developing into irregular rings with a black tip. The tail is short measuring just 60% of the head and body length.
The Southern Tiger cat ranges from Central to southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina. The northern limits of its geographic range are still unclear, so whether it overlaps with Northern Tiger Cats and to what extent is still not known. Sources state it reaches Central Brazil in the states of Minas Gerais, Goiás and the Atlantic forest of central-south Bahia in the northeast region.
The Southern Tiger cat occurs in a variety of habitats, from dense tropical and subtropical rainforests, deciduous/semi-deciduous, and mixed pine forests, to the open savannah, and beach vegetation. In the Pantanal (wet/swampy savannah), it is very rare and has been recorded only in the dry savannas, but not in the marshy areas.
The Southern Tiger cat also inhabits disturbed areas such as agricultural fields where there is an abundance of rodents but its occurrence is limited by the presence of natural cover. Both telemetry information and scat analysis indicate the cats do not venture into disturbed areas, but only skirt around their borders, where it has been shown that Rodent abundance is more pronounced.
Southern Tiger cats tend to avoid areas where the Ocelot is found in large numbers. As a generalist carnivore and the largest and most adaptable of the small cat species in tropical America, the Ocelot dominates the other small cat species. In fact the Southern Tiger Cats are in fear of being the prey of these Ocelots. This negative effect on other small cat species is known to scientists as “the ocelot effect”. When Ocelots inhabit protected areas, the smaller cats can be forced into adjacent unprotected areas, where the threat of habitat loss and human interaction is greater.
The Southern Tiger cat has been observed as being a solitary felid. It is active predominantly at night, but can also show varying degrees of diurnal activity. This activity during any time of the day is suggested as a strategy to avoid the Ocelot. On the other hand, Tiger Cat numbers are not affected by the presence of the Margay and Jaguarundi, which are more likely potential competitors for similar sized prey.
Tiger cats are excellent climbers, but spend most of their time on the ground as most of their prey is terrestrial. When threatened, they show an aggressive behavior with arched back and raised hair, besides showing the teeth and producing a “whistling-spitting” vocalization.
The Southern Tiger cat’s diet is still very poorly studied, but is known to consist mostly of small mammals, birds and reptiles (especially lizards) and can include larger prey over 1 kg. This suggests that this small felid is a generalist predator, taking advantage of the most readily available resources in the area.
Very little information about the Tiger cat’s reproduction in the wild is available. Reproduction occurs year round, but could show different peaks in different areas. The gestation period lasts for 75-78 days, after which 1 to 3 kittens are born, but the normal litter is just one. The eyes are open at around 8 to 17 days. Weaning occurs at two to three months and young are about adult body size at 11 months of age. These felids are reported to have a lifespan ofs 15 – 21 years.
Southern Tiger Cat Conservation and Research organisations report that the global conservation status for the Southern Tiger Cat is Vulnerable (VU) and populations are declining. One of the Organisation dedicated to research and conservation of the smaller cats of Latin America: is the Institute Pro-Carnivores – Wild Cats of Brazil. Here is thier Carnivores – webpage showing the Shouthern Tiger Cat.
A group of Organisations dedicated to saving animals from extinction
Yes it’s me Oscar. As you may know I help Ed with this blog quite a lot, so have been able to pull a few string to get myself on the front page again this month. I reminded Ed that it’s my birthday this week, and I’m 5 Years Old. Ed said “yes I know you silly puss cat” and proceeeded to open my Birthday Card and fetch me a tasty tin of my favourite fish treat.
When he got back I asked him “as it’s my special week can I please, please, be Cat of the month?”. Ed thought for a bit and then said “…mmmm I’m not sure, Osc you’ve already had that honor bestowed upon you and there are so many brave and beautiful cats to choose from out there, I can’t fit em all in”.
Like a lot of countries at the moment, we are all here in Lockdown in England and it’s been a time of reflection for those humans and for us cats too (oh yes, I’ve been chatting with my pals out the back there as we cats are immune to that bat bug so can get up to all kinds of antics). Anyway, I too have been looking back at things, now that I’ve reached the splendid age of five.
When I was adopted from the Rescue Shelter I was a timid thing who would slink around and jump if anyone even came in the room. Four years on I am still a very shy guy but I do walk with a bit more pride and confidence in myself and my own beauty. I still hate the doorbell with a vengeance and run behind the sofa if it goes off, but luckily it has been quiet since March of this year!
I don’t like to admit it but I’m still not good at handling quick movements of humans at all, even when I know they are around. They still catch me by suprise by just coming into the room and I often cower away as I’m taken aback with a bolt of fear…. I think something happened to me as a kitten, but I can’t now recall what it was these days … well after all I am five now, and it was such a long time ago.
Cat of the Month ~ May 2020
Photograph: Ed, who else
I sincerly hope that all those cats out there in Lockdown are OK, and that humans, if at all possible, can continue to contribute to the good work of cat and animal rescue organisations at this time, when they need it more than ever. After all it’s where I came from, and without these places lots of cats would be in the sour milk for sure. I for one wouldn’t be here. I’va asked my mate Ed to put a link in to one of the charities close to my heart below, so if you can spare a few coppers please? … them cats n’ dogs’ll benefit from it, for sure.
Dear readers, I’ve had a lovely birthday week and am feeling particularly magnamimous at the moment “where did you learn a word like that Osc”, Ed so, please take good care of yourselves in this beautiful month of May and, do as we cats do – hunker down in a nice soft patch and let the days and other creatures go by – with the odd break for scran, stalking, hunting, climbing, exploring and generally putting a nose in where it’s sometimes not wanted
Bye for now, I’m off out in that yard to see what’s going down. Yup, I’m a really cool grown up Cat.
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on 10th November 1869. Little is recorded of his childhood, but he went on to study at the University of Lausanne before taking a job as a designer trainee at a textile mill in Mulhouse in eastern France.
Steinlen is well-known for being very fond of Cats. He was fascinated by them and drew, painted and sculpted them many times. He tried to capture each subtlety of their poses and movements, and from looking at his works we can see he has achieved his goal.
Moving with his new wife to the Montmartre Quarter of Paris at the age of 21, Steinlen was befriended by the illustrator Adolphe Willette, who introduced him to the avant-garde literary and artistic environment of the Chat Noir cabaret which had been founded not long before.
His house on the Rue Caulaincourt was, according to contemporary accounts, a meeting place for all the cats of the arrondissement. In his early years as an artist, he would sell drawings of cats in exchange for food, and in later years a cat began to be incorporated in many of his drawings, magazine illustrations, lithographs or posters, almost to the point of being his unique personal trade mark.
Steinlens’ talent was spotted by owner of the ‘Chat Noir’ Caberet club, Aristide Bruant and he commissioned Théophile to do poster art and illustrations of its satirical and humorous journal, also called ‘Chat Noir’
Steinlen went on to form artistic collaborations with writers such as Emile Zola, poets such as Jean Richepin, composers such as Paul Delmet, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, all of whom he encountered at Le Chat Noir.
Cat of the Month ~ April 2020
In the early 1890s, Steinlen’s paintings of rural landscapes, flowers, and nudes were being shown at the Salon des Indépendants. Throughout Steinlen’s life Montmartre became a favorite subject of his work and he often painted scenes of some of the harsher aspects of life in the area. Steinlen undoutedly had a great love and admiration for cats of all kinds, as is seen in his paintings, sketches and sculpture. Cats often find thier way into his paintings of street scenes and alongside the characters he saw on the streets of Paris.
Théophile Steinlen died in 1923 in Paris and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre.
Today, his works can be found at many museums around the world including at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.
With these cold, wet, winter days still upon us we at Moggyblog have turned our attention to a cat that has very little hair or fur and some are even classed as ‘nude.’ How they ever coped with sub-zero Russian winters we can only guess.
The beautiful Peterbald breed was first developed in 1993-4, when (it is said) a Russian breeder named Olga S. Mironova crossed Afinguen Myth, a brown tabby Donskoy, with an Oriental Shorthair female by the name of Radma Vom Jagerhof. At the time their offspring were gaining popularity in St. Petersburg, Russia, and they were quickly pronounced with the new title Peterbald. New breeding lines were created as Peterbalds were consistently bred out to Donskoy, Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese. TICA accepted the Peterbald in 1997 and recognized them for championship status in 2005.
Although recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) since 1997, the Peterbald is still a relatively rare purebred or pedigreed domestic cat breed.
Like the the Don Sphyx, the amount of hair or fur on a Peterbald can vary greatly from cat to cat. There’s even an “Ultrabald” type that doesn’t even have whiskers or eyebrows and they and never grow any hair at all. Then there is Flock or Chamois variety being ninety percent hairless. These cats have a soft silky feel. Other varieties of coat include Velour, Brush coat and Straight coated. However these coats can change significantly throughout their first two years of life, and their hair texture alter as time goes by either by gaining or loosing hair.
The Peterbald took its long and fine-boned, lithe body type and oblong head shape from the Oriental Shorthair. One unique feature about Peterbalds is that they have long front toes with webbing, which allows them to hold and manipulate toys and other items. Their tails are strong and thin with a graceful curl.
The breed are known to be intelligent, very active, friendly and playful, but because they are highly sociable they should always have companions around them, be these human or feline in origin. They can be fine lap cats in spite of their active natures. When venturing outdoors, care must be taken with the hairless Peterbald, as they are sensitive to very hot and cold weather. Sunburn and other skin issues are also potential concerns.
For keepers of Peterbald cats regular bathing is an important part of the weekly grooming routine. This will prevent the build up of oils on the cats skin, and will also remove daily dirt which may cause irritation. A vets advice should be sought which products to use.
Finally if you are drawn to purchase a beautiful Peterbald cat from a breeder, always investigate any hereditary or genetic conditions by asking about the breeding process. Kittens can also be examined by a vet to provide you with peace of mind before a purchase.
So, like all cat lovers, there is every excuse to stay home and dry and snuggled up with your Peterbald (or any other type of cat, for that matter) this winter and, for the Peterbalds, for the rest of the year too…
…looking for trouble no doubt… reminds me of a few of the moggies round these parts, Eh Osc?
In December 1949, late on a late winter’s evening, Walter was trudging to his three-room apartment through the New York city snow, when he spotted a kitten huddled in an alley. He cradled the shivering feline, slipped him into his heavy army coat, and carried him home to Queens, with the one thought of giving the poor creature a decent meal and bed for the night. Later, he gave the kitten as a present to his wife Maria, who was pregnant with their first child at the time. Around 11 o’clock that night, the kitten started charging around each room in the apartment like a demon possessed, astonishing Walter and Maria. “That cat is loco!” Maria exclaimed…. and the name stuck!
When Walter began taking pictures of his new adopted pet, he was so inspired by the results that he started photographing more kittens at a local animal shelter. So began an extraordinary career that would span seven decades.
The photo above is one of Chandoha’s most celebrated photos. The story goes that at one time, quite a few cats called in at the Chandoha’s farm home. Because he often fed them, these cats developed the habit of following Chandoha (No surprise there!). One day, while walking down the road with his camera, a gang of cats began tailing him. He dropped on his stomach in the road and took an iconic image of five determined cats ambling toward the camera.
Additional subjects for which Walter is known are fruits, vegetables, flowers, and New York City street scenes. Over his long career, his archive grew to more than 225,000 photographs including approximately 90,000 photographs of cats.
RIP Walter George Chandoha
(November 30, 1920 – January 11, 2019)
A book ‘Walter Chandoha. Cats. Photographs 1942–2018’ is published by Taschen, if you can afford it, that is!
Read more about the great man and his work on the New York Times website ,and another informative article about Walter here.